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GE and Fuji strike OEM agreement for computed radiography sales


GE to sell CR systems carrying Fuji labelMultimodality vendor GE Medical Systems and Fuji Medical SystemsUSA have joined forces in an alliance for sales of computed radiographysystems, the companies announced this month. The agreement isunique

GE to sell CR systems carrying Fuji label

Multimodality vendor GE Medical Systems and Fuji Medical SystemsUSA have joined forces in an alliance for sales of computed radiographysystems, the companies announced this month. The agreement isunique in that it is the first OEM deal that enables another manufacturerto sell Fuji brand equipment, according to FMSU, of Stamford,CT.

The deal with Milwaukee-based GE rounds out Fuji's stable ofOEM partners, which include Siemens, Philips and Toshiba. Thosecompanies sell Fuji CR systems under their own labels.

Under the terms of its agreement with GE, Fuji will providesupport to train GE's sales, service and support personnel inCR technology, with the first GE sales of Fuji equipment to takeplace later this year. Initially, Fuji CR systems will be soldand supported by both companies, with GE assuming sales, installationand service functions after training programs are completed.

The alliance gives GE the ability to bring x-ray studies intoa PACS network, a necessity for the development of filmless hospitalinstallations. GE increased its investment in PACS at last year'sRadiological Society of North America meeting by announcing theformation of its network products and services group (SCAN 12/14/94).

The benefits of the relationship for Fuji are obvious. Theagreement will give Fuji access to GE's large sales force andmassive installed base of x-ray systems. When it comes time toreplace those systems, users will want to purchase new equipmentcapable of digital imaging to avoid obsolescence in the eventthat their institutions go filmless, according to Dave Armstrong,director of Fuji's electronic imaging and equipment group.

Fuji has made heavy investments in CR technology in recentyears, unveiling a new generation of CR readers with improvedresolution and higher throughput (SCAN 2/15/95). Those investmentsare paying off with increased clinical acceptance of CR, accordingto Fuji. For example, the Mayo Clinic recently conducted a technologyassessment of CR that found the technology had better image qualitythan film-screen x-ray systems, Armstrong said. The institution,which has decided to go filmless, did not evaluate mammographyapplications of CR.

"For years we were pushing this market all by ourselves,"Armstrong said. "People have finally come to the realizationthat the technology is there."

Fuji has seen strong demand for CR equipment this year andexpects further improvements, thanks to the GE relationship.

"The U.S. market has taken a giant upswing with an increasein orders in the last six months," Armstrong said. "Ithink GE will help us sell or distribute as part of their productline a tremendous number of chest units over the next few years."

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